Re: [sl4] Re: Uploads coming first would be good, right?

From: Vladimir Nesov (
Date: Tue Mar 03 2009 - 16:38:33 MST

On Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 11:15 PM, Johnicholas Hines
<> wrote:
> If we have a reified procedure, a computing device, that we were using
> as the "group utility function calculator", and when fed with novel
> parameters, it started producing "NaN" or "sqrt(-1)" or other evidence
> of breakdown, then we would want to build a new calculator. We would
> go back to first principles (individual preferences) and negotiate a
> new social norm for the novel situation, and incorporate the new
> social norm into the repaired calculator.
> To un-metaphorize: Our current social norms ("utility") are computed
> by some fuzzy mental process, probably consisting of comparing
> situations to clear ethical exemplars (murder, fraud, rescuing someone
> from death, et cetera). Usually, we have pretty good agreement between
> individuals, at least to the point of "definitely praise-worthy",
> "definitely reprimand-worthy", or "murky".
> About some topics, abortion and uploading being two of them, we seem
> to get wildly divergent estimates for what the social norm is. I think
> using valuative ("good", "bad") and normative ("should") language to
> talk about those issues and strive to come to some agreement is
> rational.

That's fine, your previous comments already expressed this point,
although it looks fuzzier in this particular post.

Vladimir Nesov

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